Last night (09/17/08) I attended a meeting of of the Minnesota Revit User's Group (MNRUG) held at the Field Operations Office (I think that's what the sign said, it was dark) of McGough Construction just north of St. Paul, MN.
Heather Kossila, with McGough, gave a talk about bringing laser scan point clouds into Revit. Unfortunately I came in a few minutes late and I missed what project she had been working on. I believe it is a remodel or restoration of Shubert Theater in Minneapolis (for those that were there, please correct me if I am wrong.) My understanding of the portion of the project she was talking about is that there was a desire to preserve the existing balconies in the theater and they wanted to use Revit to explore sight lines and make certain that they worked for the new programming. The conception of the workflow was to create a point cloud file (click here to see how that's done) convert to DWG, then import to Revit and apply walls, etc with the "building maker" feature in Revit.
One of the issues with the process is that the point cloud file was converted to a DWG that was composed of polymeshes. When that object was imported into Revit its was unreadable when cut into plan views and sections. After some research Ms. Kossila discovered that if she brought the DWG into an in-place mass family that she was able to view the information as intended in plan and section. The other issue was that the "wall by face" command didn't work as expected with the mass created from a polymesh object. The speed and accuracy of laser scanning along with conceptual presentation capabilities of Revit seem to make a great tool for exploring design options in existing spaces. While I don't think the technology is "quite there" yet, I do see the possibilities for recording as-builts and existing conditions.
Next post I will discuss a presentation about Revit MEP adoption, including challenges meeting office standards, workflow, and the ever present "model ownership."